Friday, August 22, 2014

Maybe There’s Something to Those Things!

As I mentioned in previous post, I know several authors who almost sound like they can’t write without listening to music, and Have to spend a lot of time putting together just the right playlist of music for them to write by.
               I take it back, they don’t almost sound like it, they really do sound like they can’t write without listening to music, and specific music.
James River Writers has even suggested a playlist for you to check out for the Conference in October.   [See previous post.]
I never wanted to spend that kind of time looking for music, let alone specific ‘write by’ music.  But I thought what the heck.
My book I’m working on hasn’t exactly been flowing along with words, the characters have been either ignoring me or just belligerent with attitudes.
I really don’t need that.  Especially from characters, in my head.

So as I was sitting looking at a blank screen and fussing at characters in my head, that it was their fault anyway, that I was starting back at Chapter 1.
I started pondering about if I did put some music together, what would it be.
Well, all that came to mind was 

Christina Aguilera’s ‘Say Something’ 

I don’t listen to music much, but I have heard the song a couple of times.

“Say something, I’m giving up on you”

Okay, so I really wasn’t, but apparently my characters didn’t know that.  

Since I’m back up in Chapters again.  And beyond where I was, before it became their fault it wasn’t working in the first place.
Well, some of the writing is pieces that I had written before, just tweaked now with the new developments and all.
And I haven’t hit double digit Chapter numbers yet, but that’s okay.  For now anyway.

So maybe there is something to it after all.

And maybe you can learn some new things too.  New ideas.  New ways to write.  
New ways to get your book written, published, or get it written or published better.

All that and more will be at the James River Writers Conference coming up in October.
With Workshops too!
So check it out, and learn something new.  Or better.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Meet Agents! Take Workshops. Learn all kinds of things Writing! Have a Great time!

The James River Writers Conference things are Hoppin’ !

If you’ve had your eye on one of the one-on-one talk with / pitch the Literary Agents, you might not want to wait -

One agent’s time slots are already filled - Gone.   Sorry, you missed it.

Others are still open — but filling fast!!!

David Henry Sterry is almost filled up!

Time’s a-awastin’ people!   

Need to sign up for the JRW Conference Soon!  Especially if you want your pick of one of those Agent one-on-one slots!

Well, the ones that are left.

But if that’s difficult for you this year check out the Friday Workshops.  

There are Really great Workshops!   Really!

You don’t have to come to the Conference to sign up and take the workshops.

Of course we’d like for you to sign up, and come to the Conference.   We’d REALLY Like it!

But you’re going to want to come to a Workshop.

Just take a Look!  

Choices and help for your writing, your writing career.  All Kinds.
Publishing help.   Query Help.   If you’re a writer trying to get your work out to agents to get published (hopefully) then you’ll know what that means.  And how valuable that is.

 Uh-huh.  See.   You can learn a lot from them.   More if you come to the Conference too.   *Grin*

James River Writers has been kicking off our conference for several years now with Pre-Conference Master Classes. Absorb the wisdom of the experts and gain hands-on experience, whether you want to discover that perfect angle to get published or explore nuances of your craft.
The Pre-Conference Master Classes take place on Friday, October 17, 2014, at the Virginia State Capitol, Capitol Sq., Richmond., from 9:00-11:00 a.m., 11:15 a.m.-1:15 a.m., and 2:00-4:00 p.m., with two options in each time slot. You must be a registered conference attendee to sign up for the Conference Master Classes. After October 1, if space remains, classes will be available to those not attending the conference.
   Friday, October 17th, 2014
9:00 am – 11:00 am
Literary Agent
Jody Rein
To Self (Publish) or NOT to Self? How to Decide! with Jody Rein
A personalized step-by-step workshop on the key decision every writer working today must make. What is the best publishing path for you, your book and your writing career? A self-published ebook or an agented, traditionally published hardcover? Or something in-between? What are the options? What are the real costs–in time, in money, in reputation, in sales?
Kelly O’Connor
Point of View: Who’s Telling and Who’s Listening? with Kelly O’Connor McNees
Fiction writers have to make choices about how and why our narrators tell their stories. Does your novel call for a first-person point of view with a strong voice but a limited scope? Or an omniscient narrator to tell the story of a whole town, allowing us to peek in the windows? Through exercises and short readings, this class will explore the role of point of view in crafting compelling fiction, and how to find the perfect storyteller for your tale.
11:15 am – 1:15 pm
Hugh Howey
Author Platform: What You Need to Know with Hugh Howey
With so many books competing in the marketplace, how do you get your fair share of attention? An effective platform has never been more important for authors than it is right now. Learn how to build your author platform by increasing your discoverability, extending your network, and reaching your target audience.
Jane Friedman
How to Get Your Book Published with Jane Friedman
This class covers all the basics on how to get your book published. Topics include how to research markets and contact agents; how to capture the attention of a New York publisher; what expectations you should have when it comes to the marketing and promotion of your work; and how to analyze publishing options.
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Sheri Reynolds
Speed Up, Slow Down, Cast Forward, Flash Back: A Multi-genre Exploration of Pacing with Sheri Reynolds
Update your writer’s toolbox with a firm understanding of tempo. What makes a narrative speed up and slow down, zoom in and zoom out? How does a writer shift gears smoothly from scene to summary to scene again? Analyze excerpts from fiction and nonfiction to see how successful writers manipulate time. Get hands-on experience with techniques to control the tempo of your narrative.
Jane Friedman
How to Write a Query That Gets Manuscript Requests with Jane Friedman
If you’ve written your query like a pro, then you should be getting requests for your manuscript (or proposal) about 50% of the time. Learn the five key elements of every query, what it means to sell the sizzle, and how to avoid problems that plague (and sabatoge) queries.


- See more at:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Writer's Playlists

Most writers have playlists.   Music.   What did you think I was talking about.   Really?

Some writers like Maggie Stiefvater and new-book-coming-out Kat Spears apparently spend Loads of time constructing said playlists and Very carefully looking for Just the right music to write their books by.

Yeah.  Okay.  So, not me.   But that's the great thing about writers, and readers, we like different things.

So if you are interested in Playlists check James River Writers Conference 2014 list.

Conference Fever

JRWCon 2014 Ultimate Playlist

By Lana Krumweide
Music makes everything better. Learning, working, socializing, healing—everything goes more smoothly with the right song.  Why should the James River Writers Conference be any different? We’ve put together a playlist to help you get ready for the conference:

Track 1: Madness (Muse)
You write because you can’t not write, and we get that. Spending a weekend with people who share this peculiar sort of madness will make you feel sane again (results may vary).

Track 2: A Little Less Conversation (Elvis Presley)
Start off the weekend with ourFriday hands-on Master Classes taught by top-notch writing instructors and publishing professionals. For example, if you find that your writing needs a little less conversation and a little more action, Sheri Reynolds’s class on pacing can help you with that. 
See the Entire Spotify JRWCon14 Playlist Here

If you have signed up for the JRW newsletter, then this is in it.   So you might have seen it.  But you might not have opened it yet, so that's why I posted it here.  
In case you needed another chance to see it.   You know.  Cause we're all different.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Reasons to Come to a Conference

Well, reasons to come to the James River Writers Conference in October.

I keep hearing more and more people talk about they’ve been thinking about writing or they have thought about writing.   Or variations along that theme.

Literally Everywhere I go, there are people talking about writing.  

In all it’s forms.

If you - or Anyone you know - has expressed those sentiments, thoughts, or dreams,  Or anything of the sort.    Or near it.
Now would be the time to have them sign up for the 2014 James River Writers Conference

Why, you say, the James River Writers Conference -    So Glad you asked!

There’s the Friday Master Classes -

Where you can learn from agents, and writers, and ….

Hugh Howey !!

Yes - you read that correctly   ----    The Hugh Howey !

If you are still scratching your eyebrow then just google him 
- and check him out on the JRW site

To give you brief teaser of why you should google …..  
           He self published and went on to make Big deal with publisher.

Yeah, thought you’d want to google him.    

Just as I am Sure you are going to want to some see him and hear him at the JRW Conference.

And even check out the Master Class he’s doing for the Conference on Friday.

At the Conference you can Meet Hugh,  and have one-on-one talk with Literary Agents !

No matter where you are in the writing journey, even if you are just thinking about it, the Conference will have something for you.

Working on your writing, whether characters, pacing, etc….  

Thinking about self publishing and if that’s going to be right for you.   

How to get yourself noticed and build a platform.

Need some help with query letters and pitching?

Or even want all the above.

You’ll find it all at the JRW Conference.

And More.

A Whole Lot More.

So check it out.     Registration is open now.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour

So, I’ve been tapped.

For those not knowing about this — I admit, I’ve been focused…. Okay, so Trying to focus on getting the current book I’m working on actually done.  You know, quasi finished.

So I’ve not been keeping up with blogs and all - sorry.
There’s a lot of things I’ve not been keeping up with, but we’ll not go into that part.

Anyway, when a friend asked if I would do this blog tour thing for a friend of his….. Well, this is a person that is hard to say no to.   
Then I got up the next morning and realized what I’d agreed to. [Talk about shades of the late writer Emyl Jenkins who could do this in spades.]   

Like everyone these days, especially writers trying to actually write and, well, live at the same time, I have a lot going on in my life.  So there was probably a lot of mental arm flinging involved.  Literal arms were too busy typing up notes on all stuff I’m supposed to be working on.  Except for the actual book I’m supposed to be actually working on… hmmm….

Then as I was thinking of three writers I was supposed to tag to take this on, I looked around my circle of writers.  Many of them had already been tapped for this, but the really great thing about being a part of a great writing community - James River Writers, in case you aren’t a part of it yet - is that I have contact with a whole bunch of writers.
So I got to thinking about some of the writers I know, and since this is not exact questions we ever talk about, I got to thinking about some of the ones that I would really like to know the answers to these questions.
And so here I am.

The person who tagged me is :    Libby.  

Be sure to check out her answers to the questions over at her blog.

And you Know that’s what we like to do, right?   Check out what other writers say about how they write, and what works for them, so we can see if we can find better ways to handle it all.

Like I said, great thing about being part of James River Writers, you get to meet a lot of writers. 

So, now, on to the questions everyone answers:

Answer the 4 questions below about your writing process. (I didn't choose these questions!) 

1)     What am I working on? 

I am currently trying to finish a YA (young adult) novel about a girl named Kelpie struggling with the aftermath of Celtic legend’s clash with strong southern women, and facing the past secrets that those southern women carry around in their lilting accents.

I read eclectically, and usually am reading more than one book at a time.  Apparently that’s how my mind wants to write too, since I’m constantly fending off characters and conversations from other books that are sitting in my file folders in various stages of ‘dress’ and ‘undress.’

So the other book I’ve been trying not to work on at the same time is a commercial fiction novel, that I’ve titled “Running with Fire” about a woman dealing with her health and her marriage reaching the end, having to make a trip back home to settle her past after the death of her parent, and being shocked at what she finds.

2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre?   

The biggest way I can think of is that it is written in my unique voice.   We all have a unique voice as writers, although I’ve heard of some teachers and other writers wanting to change and ‘helpfully’ mold other’s into images of their voice.  I have worked hard and waited until I felt comfortable in my own voice to begin to put my writing out beyond my own computer.

Like this great Neil Gaiman quote says - 

Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that — but you are the only you. ― Neil Gaiman

3)     Why do I write what I do? 

Short answer:  self-preservation and sanity.
My stories just pop up in all kinds of weird ways and places.  Characters show up and want to natter on and on about their stories.  Often it feels like I’ve been dropped into a viewer port into someone else’s life.  Although, I’ve also had them show up and not want to talk, just hanging and lurking around all mysterious like.  They just seem to want me to somehow write it out    They don’t give me a category or genre or anything.        I don’t really like those characters.

So really to me, the question is Why I write at all.  And I have heard a few writers say it better, like author Kyle Mills at the 2007 James River Writers Conference, and I don’t have the words exact but basically it’s that you Have to write for some reason it’s hard for even you to fathom.  If you could do something else and not write, it’s much easier.

Something along the lines of this quote -

Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. — George Orwell

Enough said on this?

4)     How does my writing process work? 

I have a process?    
Yes, of course I have a process.   I really should.   I know I should.    Of course, phhhffft, shoot yeah, I have a process.  Of course.
Uhm.   Well.      Right now I have a process that involves a lot of mental arm flinging, and physical word flinging every chance I get.
Does that count?

Really, I seem to have thoughts about stories and characters almost always rolling around in my head.  So I always try to keep some kind of documenting instrument around to use - phone, computer, pen, some scrap of paper, to jot them down before they get trampled under by the other thoughts and story ideas rampaging around.

Scrivener Software has Really helped me a Lot!   It helps my ‘process’ tremendously!
It helps me keep my thoughts and stories and ideas at least somewhat organized.
I can jot down any thoughts and ideas that come to me and put in the files and folders where they belong.  Or where they seem to belong at the time.

I don’t write in a linear fashion to start with, and I’m a very visual writer.  The thoughts and ideas are like in snippets of film segments that I have to try to describe and bring into form with the best words I can.  With Scrivener I’m able to put all this in a place where I can go into to work on the detail, and I can look at them as a whole and move them around if they came to me out of sequence.
Yeah, still working on making the characters do that nicely.

I work on writing as I can.  When I’m not able to sit and type things into Scrivener, and when I am in lull times of being out doing other things, I am thinking and plotting and coming up with more details and facets on the story and characters I am working on.

Okay, so that’s my process I guess.     Needs more tweaking?

Well, while I’m dong that, and trying to get back to work writing with Kelpie and her problems, be sure to check out the answers of the writers that will be posting next week on April 14th.

J. T. Glover has published short fiction in Fungi, Handsome Devil: Stories of Sin and Seduction, and Underground Voices, among other venues, and he has a co-written story, "Pale Apostle," forthcoming this summer in The Children of Old Leech. He is currently shopping one novel to agents and drafting another. In 2014 he joined the Board of Directors of James River Writers. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, he lives in Richmond, Virginia with his wife and a not inconsiderable number of fur-bearing friends. By day he is an academic research librarian specializing in the humanities. You can find him online at, where he blogs about reading, writing, publishing, libraries, and everything in between.

Bill Blume discovered his love for the written word while in high school and has been writing ever since. His debut novel Gidion's Hunt (originally titled Tales of a 10th Grade Vampire Hunter) was published this past August by Fable Press. His short stories have been in many fantasy anthologies and various ezines. Just like the father figure in his first novel, Bill works as a 911 dispatcher for Henrico County Police and has done so for more than a decade. He also served as the 2013 chair for James River Writers in Richmond, which produces one of the nation’s best annual conferences for educating and connecting writers. You can learn more about Bill and his stories by visiting his website: www,
Check out his answers on his blog:

Cynthia Price has been telling stories her whole life. She started off as a newspaper reporter and then turned her focus to media and public relations and strategic communications. She writes a blog called Cynthia's Communique: about communications and leadership.

She is active in communications groups and enjoys mentoring young people as they launch their careers. She's also an avid traveler/explorer of the world and is currently on a quest to visit all 50 states.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Why I’ve been a Part of ….. for Years.

 I’ve been a part of, and a long time volunteer with, James River Writers for years.  
Many years.

This is why we’ve chosen to be a part of James River Writers for so long.

this great video taken at the wonderful 2013 James River Writers Conference shows why

We’d welcome you to be a part too!!!

Come find a place where you belong.   

There’s always room for you.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Drowning in Social Media Or Really, the Freaking Thing Stole all my Words

So.       Does Absence Really make the heart grow fonder?

You must be Really fond of me by now.


I do have a whole lot of reasons for being ‘gone’ from here.   I really was gone from here with family emergencies and things that life throws at you that there’s no choice but take care of.
But life goes on, doesn’t it.

So.  Anyway.    I will try to do this better.     Especially given the Social Media class we recently spur-of-moment attended. — More on that later.

But I am, like most writers I know, trying desperately to get the book I am working on Finished.
Well, as I keep telling some other writer friends, give up on waiting until you get it perfect, it’s never going to happen.  You are constantly growing as a writer - at least I sure hope you are!
So get it as good as you can today.   As good as you can, at this moment, make it.

Everyone is stretched in so many different directions these days.    As a writer trying to write, And do social media things, puts even more tasking on us and our time.
Maybe even on our words?

Does anyone else feel like that?    
That you’ve used up all your words either in writing on your manuscript or on your social media stuff.

I was going to name this post something simple - I admit it - bland.  

Social Media and Writers

But somehow the title just came out.

Drowning in Social Media Or Really, the  Freaking Thing Stole all my Words

Maybe it’s just all the other life stresses but felt like there were only so many words crammed in my head and, well, once I had used them, nothing was left over for anything else.  I had to choose.

Which makes me think of a great tweet I saw -

 @janetzipper: What you choose to do everyday will either move you forward or keep you where you are. #motivate #success

So today I moved forward a little.  I think.    But then I haven’t written anything on my book today either.

How ‘bout you?

Any tips on how you balance it all?    How you manage to move forward?